A full bench of Lahore High Court on Monday deferred hearing of petitions, seeking a media blackout of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and registration of a high treason case against MQM chief Altaf Hussain, for an indefinite period.
The bench postponed the hearing as head of the bench, Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, was not available. The bench had earlier given the petitioner time to file a rejoinder to a reply submitted by Altaf Hussain’s counsel Asma Jahangir. Counsel had said that no person or institute could lodge a case of high treason. “This authority belonged to the federal government.” Counsel had said that the petitioners were not the immediate aggrieved party and therefore, the petition was not maintainable. Curbs on Hussain’s speeches violated the Constitution, she had said. “No curbs can be imposed on the right of speech.” On September 7, 2015, the bench had ordered a media blackout of Altaf Hussain’s speeches.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2016.